New duck classics
Updated: 2011-08-28 08:01
By Ye Jun (China Daily)
Being the most well-known and oldest Peking duck restaurant in China can have some disadvantages. Quan Ju De, founded in 1864, used to be the place to go for the signature dish of the Chinese capital, but as more and more options crop up, it started losing some luster.
The meteoric rise of restaurants such as Da Dong also sends out a message - it is no longer enough to offer just Peking roast duck. You have to give people a lot more reason to visit. All these have prompted some changes in the venerable establishment.
Diners can now expect a lot more than just roast duck at Quan Ju De. At its oldest outlet on the Qianmen Pedestrian Mall, chefs combine duck dishes with Thai flavors for the summer. Marinated roast duck breast is topped with Thai-style spicy, sweet, and sour sauce for an excellent starter. Another Southeast Asian-inspired dish is the duck wings steamed and served with coconut curry.
Besides these, the Qianmen branch is adding to the Thai theme with spicy and sour fish, tom yum goong, durian milk drink and banana cake. The restaurant is the most traditionally decorated among the outlets in the chain, with a unique historic wall at one side of the first floor, a reminder of the restaurant's 147 years of history.
The restaurant's Shuangjing branch,
on the other hand, is a lot more contemporary. The service here is more foreigner-friendly, probably because a lot of the diners are tourists coming in groups. For them, the outlet has gone the classic Sichuan route - with hot, spicy but definitely titillating offerings.
Slices of duck breast and red chili are fried to resemble Sichuan spicy chicken. Duck gizzards and duck blood are made into the traditional Sichuan blood pudding stew served on a base of bean sprouts.
In Wangjing, the Quan Ju De branch prepares Chinese dishes traditionally considered cooling for the season. That includes cold potato starch boodles matched with watermelon radish and cucumber slices and flavored with sesame sauce - a typical Northeastern dish in summer.
Other seasonal winners at the restaurant include an endive salad served with salt, vinegar and peanut oil. The slightly bitter vegetable is believed to dispel heat and prevent diarrhea. Bitter melon, another vegetable supposed to chase away the summer vapors, is served as a salad and as a sauted dish with pork.
And of course, these new additions to the menus only gild the lily, for there is no doubt that Quan Ju De is still best known for its Peking roast duck.
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